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Milestone For Windflow Tech. As Windflow 500 Opens



Milestone for Windflow Technology as Windflow 500 opens

Sustainable wind energy will become a reality for Christchurch with the official opening of the Windflow 500 windmill next week. Hon. Pete Hodgson, Minister for Energy, is to open the windmill at a ceremony on 9 July at the Gebbies Pass site, when about 200 shareholders and other interested parties are expected to attend.

"The project has successfully completed its commissioning period and the machine is performing as expected," said Geoff Henderson, Chief Executive Officer, Windflow Technology, "This is a significant milestone for Windflow Technology, placing us firmly on the map as a serious contender in the field of sustainable energy."

The opening marks the end of commissioning tests on the pre-production machine that will culminate in the windmill being brought to its full output capacity of 500 kW. On average it will produce 200 kW which is enough to power 200 average households.

"The high performance of the Windflow 500 design is due to the torque-limiting gearbox and the rotor teetering mechanism that allow more energy to be produced from a lighter machine compared with conventional structures. It leads the way globally on energy generation efficiency and structural excellence," said Mr Henderson.

Support for Windflow Technology's work has been widespread across government departments, investors, environmental groups and the general public and, according to Mr Henderson, has been integral in the successful completion of the pre-production machine. "In particular," he said "we must acknowledge the strong support of the Christchurch City Council, Orion and our many shareholders whose faith is being vindicated by the performance of our first windmill."

The Christchurch City Council signed a contract with Windflow Technology in 2001, to purchase power from the Windflow 500 over a period of 10 years. This is consistent with the Council's policy regarding sustainable energy supply for the city. Similarly, Orion signed a 10 year agreement to provide connection to the national grid.

"Wind powered generation provides a sustainable and economic energy source, that is so easily accessible to New Zealanders" Mr Henderson said, "We can now start on the next stage of the development of Windflow Technology and wind powered generation. And to this end we will be announcing a Rights Issue soon."

- Ends -

Wind Energy: The Perfect Solution For New Zealand

Wind Energy: a Sustainable Answer to New Zealand's Energy Dilemma

Electricity demand is currently increasing by about 130 MW annually. Traditionally New Zealand has used hydro-power, and in recent years we have increasingly been using gas-fired power. However, not only are sites for further hydro dams limited by technological and ecological constraints, but the supply of fossil fuels is also limited and more importantly may become increasingly unpredictable. These factors combined with the implications of global warming and pollution support a move towards renewable and non-polluting sources of energy. Increasing use of gas for power generation is exactly the wrong response to the threat of climate change!

Wind energy meets those demands. It produces zero emission, it is renewable and abundant, it can meet New Zealand's growing demand for energy without compromising sustainability and it provides a more cost effective solution than developing new hydro generation.

New Zealand's wind resource remains a vast untapped source of energy.

New Zealand: some of the World's Best Wind Farm Sites

New Zealand's location and terrain mean that we have tremendous potential for wind farming within our shores. A 1987 report for the New Zealand Energy Research and Development Committee found that New Zealand is one of the most favourable parts of the world for large-scale introduction of wind energy. The circumpolar winds of the Roaring Forties blow unchecked by land until reaching New Zealand. The airstream is then accelerated further by our mountain ranges, providing many ideal sites for wind power generation.

Wind Power and Hydro Power: a Symbiotic Relationship

Both monthly and annual weather data show that wind patterns are more predictable than rainfall. Wind generated electricity perfectly complements our existing hydro generation capacity because lake water can be saved and stored while the wind is blowing taking the pressure off our lake systems. Consequently, investment in wind energy will increase the overall security of New Zealand's electricity supply, assisting the nation through periods of low rainfall such as those that resulted in the electricity shortage of 1992.

Wind Energy: a Flexible and Cost-Effective Source of Generation

As opposed to other methods of generation, wind farming offers flexibility to power providers. Wind farms can be developed incrementally as power demand grows, avoiding the lead-time and sheer size of investment associated with projects like the Clyde Dam. Whilst conventional hydro and thermal power stations are not economically viable until reaching 100-500 MW capacity, wind farms become economic with as little as 25 MW.

The price of wind technology has declined rapidly over the past two decades. Today, wind energy is competitive with other forms of generation (see graph below). It is projected that the price of wind energy for New Zealand is between 5-6 c/kWh. This figure does not include consideration for the environmental benefits of wind power, a factor which will become more important in years to come!

New Zealanders are Ready for Wind Power

New Zealanders are ready for wind power. As the 1994 MRL opinion survey has demonstrated, an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders are convinced of the benefits of wind power and want to see its development.

New Zealand and Australia have recently made some important policy changes that pave the way for sustainable wind power:

- The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, July 2000

- NZ Government Decisions on Electricity Industry Reform, October 2000

- Renewable Energy Initiatives in Australia

- Australian Wind Energy Association Targets for 2002 and 2010, July 2000

Wind Energy : the Myths Dispelled

1. Noise

Overseas opinion surveys of residents adjacent to wind farms show that noise is generally a non-issue, even in the densely populated areas of Europe. Generally, a modern windmill can not be heard above background noise at a distance greater than 300 m.

2. Visual Impact

Contrary to the belief that wind farms have a negative visual impact on the environment, several independent opinion surveys have found that over 80% of people living near wind farms approve of their visual impact.

3. Land Use

Wind farms and hydro development occupy similar total land areas for the same energy output. However, as opposed to hydro, 97% of the land on a wind farm can be used for conventional farming.

Wind Energy: a growth industry

Wind energy is the fastest growing form of electricity generation world-wide. Current world wind generation capacity stands at about 30,000 MW, having grown from 2,000 MW in 1990. In recent years compound growth rates have regularly exceeded 30% pa. Market potential in New Zealand is estimated to be at least 3,000 MW, or six thousand 500 kW units. There is a similar market potential in Australia. The relatively undeveloped markets of the Asia and Pacific regions, home to 50% of the world's population, have huge market potentials of the order of hundred of thousands of units in the next 50 years.

A New Zealand Wind Industry:

Strategic Investment for the Future

All these factors make wind energy one of the most promising investment prospects for the 21st century.

Wind energy is internationally recognised as the most promising of the emerging sustainable generation technologies, and nowhere more so than in windy New Zealand! NZ can capitalise on these huge prospects by establishing a world-class local manufacturing industry. We have the expertise and the manufacturing capability. Investment now will reap future gains - for investors, for the economy and for the environment.

"The answer my friend is blowing in the wind"

¡K. And to more than one question

1. The Question of Sustainability

Being a renewable form of energy, wind power will never run out. Moreover it does not emit anything into the atmosphere or waterways. It does not require a water supply. One Windflow 500 generates 200 kW which is enough to power 200 average households.

2. The Question of Climate Change

In particular wind power does not emit carbon dioxide.

3. The Question of Gas Running Out

A large-scale commitment to wind power now could avert the threatened power shortages when Maui runs out. Although it would mean installing 250 MW a year, this is small compared to the global wind industry (more than 5000 MW a year).

4. The Question of Dry Year Security

Wind power complements hydro beautifully. When the wind is blowing, water can be stored in the lakes. The wind is more reliable on a monthly or annual basis (the timescales relevant to the dry year problem) than hydro inflows.

5. The Lumpy Investment Problem

A country the size of New Zealand cannot accommodate 400 MW increments to its thermal generation without causing wholesale price instability (or as in previous years, taxpayer subsidies.) Wind power can be installed rapidly in small increments.

6. The Question of Economics

Wind power is the least cost form of renewable generation. At 5-6 c/kWh it is considerably cheaper than "green-field" hydro, which has always been taxpayer-subsidised in the past, and cheaper than projected prices for power from natural gas (assuming any is found to replace the taxpayer-subsidised and rapidly depleting Maui gas).

7. The Question of a Knowledge Economy

Windflow Technology is establishing local manufacturing. Local content is about 90% and the turbine is 100% designed in New Zealand. This contrasts with other wind power projects and all other forms of power generation which use imported turbines.

8. The Question of Wind Turbine Gearbox Torque Control

The patented torque limiting gearbox system solves a major problem that is unique to wind turbines. The uncontrollability of the wind exacts a toll on gearboxes that is causing premature failure in thousands of units around the world (including NZ).

9. The Question of Turbulent Winds

The two-bladed teetering rotor is proven to eliminate a major category of fatigue loads, giving a more cost-effective, reliable solution for NZ's high-wind, turbulent sites.


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